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Top law firms in Ireland are joining others in taking measures to mitigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

McCann Fitzgerald has reduced working hours and salaries by 20% for all staff except those who earn under €38,000 with the measures set to last for four months, according to a spokesperson.

“Like other professional services firms across the globe, we have experienced a notable contraction in demand for some services since the onset of this health pandemic and we expect this to continue in the coming months”, the spokesperson added in a statement.

“We have therefore introduced a number of interim measures to protect all jobs, while ensuring that service is kept to the high standards our clients expect.”

William Fry has also implemented a 20% pay cut for its highest earners, along with the deferral of profit distributions.

The firm’s summer intern program has also been suspended, but managing partner Bryan Bourke told Legal Week that a modified program will go ahead later this year.

He added in a statement: “Our priority is to protect all jobs and continue to deliver a premium service to our clients during this difficult time”. 

While fellow major Irish firm Arthur Cox has not cut pay, a spokesperson confirmed bonuses will not be paid out this year and partner distributions had been “significantly reduced”.

Other measures by the firm include asking employees to take 10 days of annual leave by the end of June, and three voluntary schemes allowing staff to apply for incentivised career breaks, reduced working weeks or term-time work.

The spokesperson continued: “Other than a very small number of support staff on fixed term contracts, we have not let any staff go nor have we furloughed any staff.”

The firm’s graduate recruitment program will continue as planned.

COVID-19 has seen law firms hedging themselves against the financial impact through numerous measures. Most recently, Eversheds Sutherland introduced a scheme allowing the firm to cut hours and pay of staff in sectors which have seen reduced work.

Meanwhile, Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper have appointed task forces to manage a possible return to its U.K. offices, with Baker McKenzie surveying London staff on their opinions and thoughts.

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